Camera Awesome!: Power Up iPhone Pix

Tech Test Lab

Product: Camera Awesome from SmugMug
Price: free; additional features extra
Rating: Highly Recommend*

SmugMug has recently released a new camera app for iPhone users — and true to its name, it really is awesome. This camera packs in tons of features that are reminiscent of higher-level cameras, and adds a whole new level of control to camera phone photography. Ditch the stock photo app and give this one a try — this app is especially useful for those who are into photography and like to share photos with social media outlets quickly and easily.

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In this free app, not only can you set the exposure and focus for your photo separately, you can lock either one (or both!) to let you compose your photo. And speaking of composition, you've got lots of tools at your fingertips! Toggle the horizon level on and off, and choose from the rule of thirds, the golden ratio, or trisec to give your composition that creative boost. You can also choose from different shooting modes, including single-shot, burst (for action shots), timed shot (for when you occasionally want to appear in your own photos!) and even interval shooting. After the shot, you can view the histogram, a map of where the shot was taken, and all technical info on your photo.

Proceed to the editing phase, and you have a plethora of choices. Post-processing options include filters, presets, textures, and frames...

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and an easy-as-pie cropping interface. Below is my cropped image with a black and white filter.

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The downsides of the editing menu? There is no separate control to alter exposure/brightness, and additional effects and filters beyond the standard selection are paid upgrades. But those issues aside, the filters and presets that are included are more than enough to give your photos a little sparkle!

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You can also just keep it simple — skip the presets and filters altogether — and let the app "awesomize" your photo for you!

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Camera Awesome also feeds in to social media seamlessly; you can select the "one tap" option of passing along your photos to the social outlet of choice, or the "zero tap" method, where your photos are instantly posted… and you can even have it apply editing effects to your photos automatically before they are shared.

Bottom Line: SmugMug has done an excellent job of integrating the best parts of apps like Instagram and Photoshop Express, and adding new shooting features that come a lot closer to SLR-like control over your image. Best of all, the app is free — go check it out and be ready to kiss your stock camera app goodbye!

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Pros: Precise control of the metering and focus of your image, lots of shooting modes and options, great editing interface, seamless integration with social media.

Cons: Minor problems with delays and lags; "awesomize" effect seems to take longer than it should. No option to alter exposure/brightness in editing. There also may be a bit of a learning curve with this app, especially with users that aren't familiar with SLR or photography terminology.

Our Ratings:
Strong Recommend*
Recommend
Weak Recommend
Don't Recommend

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was purchased by reviewer for testing and review purposes.

(Images: 1-5,7. Screenshots, Sarah Dobbins), 6. Camera Awesome